Friday, September 17, 2010

The Vagabond: You Are No One. You Are Everyone.

Ask any one of my bestfriends about my party habit. They'd tell you that I have none. I do go to clubs, but not with a backpack full of excitement. I'm not the kind of girl whose idea of having a great time is being in a hip club crammed with people with music I don't get. 

Jakarta, being an up and coming party city of Asia, has lots of great clubs. I usually went to those clubs when I had to write about them or when I was with my husband's friends who casually enjoy a night out in one of those glamorous clubs, most probably wanting to treat their eyes to the sight of beautiful girls. I usually had a drink in my hand, trying hard to enjoy the music. Never was I the life of the party. On the contrary, I was always awkward and stiff, not willing to let go.

Nonetheless, I did have my share of fun in some clubs. Trying to sort out my memories of those good times, I have come to a conclusion that I never enjoyed clubs that are crammed with people, clubs with people who go there just to "score", clubs with "peacocks"aka people who dress up like there is no tomorrow, clubs with ridiculously tight security, clubs that make their guests dress in a certain "proper" way, clubs with certain music (RnB, Hip Hop, tacky house music), clubs that are simply overrated. And you would know that a club is overrated when it (the club) and the people are just trying too damn hard to be hip.

Anyways, during my stay in Miami, my traveling partners and I wanted to get a taste of the party scene there. The one that is famously known as one of the best in the country. To be honest, I was not as excited to party in Miami as I was excited to go to its beach and eat its food. Again, to party is never my best talent.

Since we went there during the Labor Day weekend, it was to be expected that the city is FULL of tourists and like us, they wanted to have a good time. So when we head out on Saturday night to go to this supposedly best club in Miami, called Mansion, we were competing with thousands of other people.

Mansion is located on South Beach, Miami. That night every street in South Beach was full of cars. We were barely moving. Finding a parking spot was one impossible task and getting into the club was the next. At 11.00 PM Mansion already had a really REALLY long line in front of it. People looked desperate to go in. We didn't want to be desperate so we went looking for other clubs on South Beach. They pretty much had the same situation; a ridiculously long line of people in front. We immediately left South Beach and headed Downtown. A club called Space was the next recommended club with its huge space and whatnot. Surprise, surprise, it also had that long familiar line in front of it. Next!!!

After wandering aimlessly for almost an hour, a local friend of ours then popped up another club name: The Vagabond, located just a block away from Space. We went there with no expectation whatsoever. We were tired and honestly, desperate for a place to just get a drink and hopefully have a nice time. So The Vagabond it was.

Relieved was the perfect word to express what we felt when we saw that there was no line in front of The Vagabond. A $10 cover charge greeted us. From the first second that I stepped in, the place immediately gave me the impression that I was going to love it there. And oh how I did. How I really really did.

The Vagabond had three areas. Two were indoor and the third was outdoor. Each had its own tune and style. The first one was pumping with dance music, the second one (outdoor) was more relaxed, and the third one had a stage with a show on it! That night it was the "Moulin Rock" show with drag queens and magical characters dancing and performing. The music was all-around awesome, the people were great, the atmosphere was crazy, the drinks were cheap, and I had one of the greatest time ever!

The Vagabond had since become my most favorite club anywhere! It was raw, raunchy, and wild. I was actually letting myself go there. I danced myself away and not giving a damn. No one was giving a damn to anyone or anything. It was a blast! I will definitely come back to Miami just to go to The Vagabond again. It exceeded my expectations by thousands of miles.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bienvenido a Miami!

My husband and I have been wanting to have a short getaway for quite a while. We had always managed to look for tickets on the very last minutes, get extremely pricy fares and end up canceling the whole plan. That was then. Two weeks ago we finally went to Miami and had the most awesome time!

When Asa and Robert, another couple who are also good friends of ours, asked us if we wanted to go somewhere nice during the Labor Day long weekend (9/3 - 9/6), we immediately jumped in on the plan and looked for tickets a month in advance. We got a sweet deal for roundtrip American Airlines tickets from Houston to Miami from Travelocity; $222/person. 

We looked for hotels and got another sweet deal from The New Hotel and Spa, located on the North part of Miami Beach for $100/night. The hotel was not in the hustle and bustle area of South Beach, but it had a great beach within walking distance. With only 10 rooms available, we got ourselves a very chic room with a king bed, cable TV, pantry, and L'Occitane toiletries. I looooove the toiletries. 

Based on the 3 days 3 nights stay in Miami Beach, I can draw a conclusion that the city has an all around bad customer service. Be it in restaurants or shops, service was almost always bad; slow, cold, even rude. Well, to be fair we also got pretty good service in a number of restaurants, but mostly bad. 

The rudeness was also felt from the people itself. On the roads people changed lanes abruptly, cut people  off, honked like crazy, tailgated, speed, even completely stopped in the middle of a busy road to chat with another driver. 

The same thing happened while I was in line, waiting to pay for something I bought. People just innocently shoved in in front of me, as if I was not even there. This didn't just happen once, but many times. Pretty young girls did it, older folks were also the same. It was annoying and shocking, because in Texas (and I just realized this when I visited Miami) people are mostly courteous toward other people. People say hi and ask how a stranger's day has gone so far for no apparent reason. People don't cut lines and they even let others go first for the most polite reasons. And even though Houston has a lot of offensive drivers, they are nothing like Miami's. In Miami, I felt like I was back in Jakarta.

Anyway, it doesn't mean that I hate Miami. I love Miami. I respect America for the uniqueness of its states. It is true that a state in the United States of America is nothing like the next. Miami has a strong laid back, go-to-hell-i-don't-give-a-damn feel to it. The people are also beautiful and just all around love to have the best of time. They are passionate about their food, music and looks. There and then I saw people soaking up in the sun, happy with whatever kind of body they had. It was a great sight, resulting to a wonderful feeling in my gut. I got to fall in love with my own body too and had the greatest time enjoying the water, beach and sun.

I love Miami for being rudely beautiful!

Tan As a Human Being Can Be Tan,


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Work It, Girls!

"Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages should feel free to wear nothing and everything. Be it a tiny bikini or a loose hijab, a woman should feel free to wear anything her heart desires."

It was a relieving sight. To see older women with voluptuous body wearing every kind of swimsuits proudly on the beaches of Miami, even with cellulite showing on their thighs and stomachs, was a sight that gave me true inspiration. On the same beaches I also saw younger women in every kind of body shape, showing off their "assets", big or small, flat or flabby with no care in the world. Who am I to judge? Even if it's the easiest thing to do in the world; to judge.

I think it is the same thing with hijab or jilbab, a head covering worn by most of Muslim women as a way to show their religious belief. I don't wear one, but I have seen Muslim women in Houston wearing hijabs and get a funny stare in return. I once wore a really short pants to a mall in Indonesia and got a stare from a creepy fat man in return. The two are, to me, the same thing; shallow judgment based on what kind of shape of fabrics we chose to wear.

So in that pretty beach in Miami, I made a promise to myself. I will value other people and not pass judgment based on what they are wearing (or not wearing). Other people's shapes, sizes, colors, religions and beliefs will be as valuable to me as it is to them. And I, from now on will wear my swimsuit proudly, even with that excess fat on my stomach or the various spots of vitiligo on my back.

I think if people have to judge, they need to do it in their own tiny brain and not spread the hate around.